Do you look down and see unsightly toenails? Do you want to avoid strong medications that can cause damage to your liver? Are you tired of liquids and creams that are time consuming to apply with low success rates?
Finally you can get rid of your discolored, cracked fungal toenails or onychomycosis with the latest laser techniques. While lasers may seem scary to some, they are used each day for cosmetic procedures with safe light energy.
While there are several laser options available, Dr. Marc Katz, a Tampa podiatrist, has done his homework. Before jumping into various technologies, he needed to research each option and find the best, most effective solution for his patients, not the most popular and best marketed option.
He rejected the Pinpointe laser quickly for several reasons. The Pinpointe is basically a laser designed for dental procedures with modifications to capture a new market, toenails. So the design and treatment is less than optimal. The Pinpointe has a small spot size that can produce a problem known as stacking. Stacking comes from overlapping of the laser beam in the same area possibly leading to burns and damage. Small spot size can also lead to missed areas of treatment. Dr. Katz also did not like the fact that the procedure is performed with no control of the beam distance or desired temperature for fungal death and this leads to inconsistent treatments with poorly controlled outcomes. In addition, the beam was not accompanied by cooling to avoid surrounding tissue damage. The current single treatment with Pinpointe has also become controversial. There is increasing evidence that to be effective, two or even three treatments are essential and best for the patient. The single treatment protocol resulted from the fact that the doctor was charged each time the laser was turned on, hardly in the best interest of the patient.
Initially, a comparison was made between the Noveon and Pinpointe lasers. With additional research,different promising options became clear that combined superior treatment and safety features. While the Noveon was promising, it failed its initial FDA approval for onychomycosis and ran into financial problems. In addition, some of the lower wavelengths had questionable results and the safety features with the Noveon added additional costs to the procedure. As of this writing, the Noveon is not available but may be in the future. It should also be noted that the laser also was initially developed for dental procedures. All of the lasers mentioned here have been FDA cleared for podiatry, dermatology and general surgery use. So they are appropriate for toenail treatments if deemed necessary by your doctor.
As research proceeded, Dr. Katz liked the Cooltouch CT3 Plus Zoom laser, one of the most sophisticated lasers on the market today with a track record. The Cooltouch offers various types of skin treatments for many conditions. Dr. Katz points out that toenails are simply modified skin, so the Cooltouch laser is a perfect fit. He also liked the higher wavelength of the beam and feels that the hard thick nail can be more safely penetrated and treated with this different wavelength. In addition there are added features that improve the appearance of the nail by resurfacing, similar to skin resurfacing
and rejuvenation. This is strictly a Cooltouch feature.
The CoolTouch CT3Plus CoolBreeze produces 1320nm laser energy that is specifically absorbed by water and water associated with collagen in the tissues of the nail matrix. The laser is so sophisticated that it can detect and reach the proper target
temperature set by the doctor leading to death of the fungus. The treatment then stops instantly and then the nail is cooled with a spray. This allows for fungal death without damaging the skin or the nail growth plate. Cooltouch’s impeccable safety comes from its incorporating pulsed cooling and real-time temperature feedback into its treatments. In addition, the CoolBreeze Handpiece boasts an adjustable spot size from 3 mm to 10 mm allowing for adjustments based on nail size for most effectiveness. Other lasers currently being used do not incorporate these special features for patients leading to less desirable outcomes and minimal safety features. The Cooltouch laser can be completely controlled. The treatment temperature to kill the fungus can occur automatically while incorporating safety. Each patient can receive a customized treatment leading to the best possible outcome. This is truly unique.
Dr. Katz notes that other lasers take 30 minutes for treatment compared to the more effective Cooltouch which only takes about half the time. Dr. Katz recommends two treatments and feels that this is extremely important. There are different growth phases of the nail and fungus and the best results occur when the patient receives at least 2 treatments. The cost of 2 treatments with the Cooltouch is usually the same or less compared to only one treatment with the Pinpointe laser. This certainly benefits the patient.
Dr. Katz feels that the laser is superior to all other advancements for fungal toenails. However, patients need to follow a comprehensive maintenance plan to prevent recurrence of the toenail infection. He also notes that while success rates are high, no treatment can guarantee success all of the time. Dr. Katz recommends that you speak with your doctor about results and ways to prevent recurrence.